SINGAPORE — The four-party opposition alliance known as ‘The Coalition’ brought held their first-ever joint walkabout at the Holland Village area, within Tanjong Pagar Group Representation Constituency (GRC). The Coalition appears to be eyeing the ward, formerly held by founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, ahead of the upcoming general election.
A total of about 50 members from the four component parties; Red Dot United (RDU), National Solidarity Party (NSP), Singapore People’s Party (SPP), and the Singapore United Party (SUP), were present to demonstrate their unity and strength.
RDU secretary-general, Ravi Philemon, told The Independent Singapore that the event showcased the unwavering dedication of party members and volunteers. While some members were out of commission due to battling the flu bug and Covid-19, amid the coronavirus’ latest surge, all four parties showed up with big smiles to bring festive cheer to Tanjong Pagar residents.
“It is also a testament to the core value of Respect we have for all the component parties within the non-formal partnership of The Coalition. It is the heartbeat of our collaboration and the compass that guides us toward a common purpose,” Mr Philemon said.
The inaugural Coalition walkabout went beyond mere outreach, as the evening was transformed into a vibrant tapestry of community engagement and festive joy. Along with a volunteer in a Gingerbread Man costume, The Coalition began their walkabout at the Holland Village area before they went to the nearby HDB rental apartments.
The Gingerbread Man was the star of the night, capturing the attention of the residents, with many stopping by to snap a photo and having meaningful chat with the various party leaders and members.
SPP chief Steve Chia said, “Just as a Gingerbread Man requires a blend of diverse ingredients like ginger, sugar, and various spices to achieve its delicious taste, the beauty of the Synergy between the different parties in The Coalition lies in the collaboration of our different strengths, flavours, and perspectives, creating a harmonious and delightful outcome in our collective efforts.”
SUP secretary-general Andy Zhu added, “This wasn’t just any outreach—it was a celebration with a purpose, where support flowed in various forms, creating a delightful blend of community engagement and festive joy.”
Calling the event a success, NSP President Reno Fong said: “Our mission to unite hearts and to bring hope during this Christmas season was a success. We were happy to spread some festive cheer and fun to the families living in the public rental flats in Holland Village.”
Tanjong Pagar GRC was widely considered a People’s Action Party (PAP) stronghold, and saw five consecutive walkover victories for the ruling party since the ward was formed in 1991 until Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away in 2015.
The snap election called months after the late elder statesman’s passing saw the ward being contested for the first time by an opposition party – the now dissolved Singaporeans First (SingFirst) party. Despite a valiant effort for its first run at the polls, SingFirst was defeated with 22.29 per cent of the vote compared to the PAP’s resounding 77.71 per cent.
The PAP team did not fare as well in the following general election, held in the middle of the pandemic.
The Progress Singapore Party (PSP) contested the ward in its maiden electoral run. Although the PAP team defeated the PSP and held on to their vote, their margin of vote was smaller at 63.1 per cent.
The ward is currently anchored by Education Minister Chan Chun Sing, alongside Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah, Minister of State Alvin Tan, Minister of State Eric Chua and Joan Pereira.